Posts Tagged workout
Have you ever wondered how often you should work out? I get asked this question a lot, so I thought it was high time to answer it for everyone.
The caveat here is of course the answer will depend on your goals. I know that sounds like a cop-out, but I promise that’s not my intent. So, here’s my advice for a variety of situations…
1) First, if you’re just starting out on your fitness journey, you may want to start out with one workout program and work on making it a habit first. For this, I would suggest writing out a schedule for yourself to do specific workouts 4 days a week. Cardio is probably the easiest way to start and get the habit engrained. Don’t be afraid to do weight training though, if you’re ready. Do 4 workouts a week for 3 weeks in order to get yourself used to the new habit. Then you can add in another day or two per week.
2) Now, if you’ve been working out and are reasonably used to it, things could be done a little differently. Whether you have a lot of weight to lose or just want to get fitter and more toned, this solution is similar. My favorite routine is 150 minutes of cardio per week AND 3 days of strength training per week.
Some Tips: Keep in mind cardio should vary. If you’re a runner, that’s great, but make sure you work in some speed days – or even better, at least 1 day a week of cross training. Do some HIIT no matter who you are, too! And as for strength training, make sure you’re doing it on non-consecutive days (at least don’t do the same muscle group on back to back days). Don’t be afraid of heavier weight. Ladies, you won’t get huge. Just lift those weights, if you’re not FAILING at the end of your sets, your weights are TOO light and you’re not getting the most from your workout!
3) Lastly, if your intent with working out is simply for health reasons – maybe you’re trying to reduce your blood pressure or cholesterol, you’ll want to focus on cardio. But I still suggest getting a couple days a week of some strength training. It’s good for your health too! As for cardio, shoot for 5 days a week, at LEAST 150 minutes per week.
And no matter your goals, always, always, always get a great stretch in after every workout. Try some yoga classes or DVDs a few days a week. Its worth it. You’ll help prevent injury – and you’ll feel amazing.
So, you can see, schedules can vary. If you find yourself asking “how often should I work out?” follow this advice and listen to your body. You want to push yourself, but not kill yourself! The key is to find something you LOVE to do. If running 5 days a week makes you really dread your workouts, try something new! Don’t be afraid of home workouts, DVDs, etc. That’s where I found my rhythm. It’s FABULOUS to be able to do my workout whenever I want and not have to drive to the gym or fight for machines or whatever.
Share with us, what’s your workout schedule now? What is your workout goal?
I know a lot of people like taking weekends as their rest days. I hear you. Really, I understand.
But consider this:
If you work during the week and having weekends off of work, what better time to really kill a few workouts? I don’t know about you, but my workouts during the week tend to sort of suck more days than I’d like to admit. I do them after work (because as much as I may try, I just CANNOT do it in the mornings; when I do, I have no energy so I get a crappy workout in). So after work, I have more energy than in the morning, BUT some days that doesn’t work out either. You know those days, where your workday just drained it all out of you. So I push myself when I get home and work out. Sometimes it may only be a 20 minute workout because it’s all I can muster (though I DO feel better and less tired and stressed afterward)… I also end up taking an unplanned rest day during the week a lot – especially on nights when I’m home late from work.
So you see, if you’re like me and your weekends are pretty open, that may give you a wonderful opportunity to really get a couple of great workouts in. You can take your time getting hyped and hydrated for it. You can do cardio + weights instead of just one or the other like during the week when time is of the essence. Or an hour of cardio instead of 30 minutes, or whatever. And even better, if you do you weekend workout before heading out for the day, you’ll feel better, accomplished, and energetic the rest of the day. And since I know I do more than normal on weekends, I feel less guilty when I take a rest day or two during the week.
In my book, that’s some great reasons to love weekend workouts.
Do you use your weekends to catch up on workouts? Do you love it, or do you just do it out of necessity?
I hear that a lot.
And totally get it. There’s SO much confusion about how often we should work out, what types of workouts to do, when to work out, and how hard to push yourself.
So here’s a good way to determine if you’re working hard enough….
A. Ask yourself if you FEEL like you’re challenging yourself. This goes for cardio workouts AND resistance/strength training. Many times just paying attention to yourself raises your awareness and you’ll know immediately that you could work harder.
B. For strength training, your goal should be to reach failure for each muscle group you’re working. If your finish your set – or your entire workout and your muscles feel like you could have done a few more, you didn’t work hard enough. Lift heavier next time, lift more slowly. Concentrate. Fatigue those muscles! You do want to build muscle. It’s what makes you look strong, healthy, and it raises your metabolism, keeping you burning calories and fat allll day long. Can’t beat that!
C. For cardio, you should be pushing yourself past your ‘comfort zone’…BUT you should still be able to hold a conversation (albeit a short conversation with short sentences!). And if you’re doing HIIT training once in a while (you ARE doing HIIT training some, right??!) then you should only be able to spit out one-word replies during the HIIT portion…but remember, those high intensity segments are short-lived and followed by a recovery. That’s the beauty of these short workouts, you really kill it and your reward is a shorter workout and wonderful fat-burning results.
If you want results like this:
Then start working like that!
I know that doesn’t seem like much direction, but that’s exactly how to know if you’re working hard enough. It’s that simple. I hope it helps! Do you feel like you push enough yourself during your workouts? If so, how do you keep yourself pushing?